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Showing posts from September, 2010

Humblest apologies, masters

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I'm afraid that there won't be a blog post today. My mind and heart just haven't been focused on writing and cartooning this week, and there's a reason for that...

You see, for those of you who don't know, I'll be moving from Durban to Cape Town on Friday. Basically an advertising agency in the Mother City is keen to hire me as a copywriter and proofer - going so far as to fly me down, take me out to lunch and provide me with initial accommodation when I move. This is in stark contrast to Dirtbin, where I received interest from just two companies - one of which wanted to pay me half my previous salary and the other just stringing me along while they looked for someone "better."

Anyway, considering I've been full-time unemployed for a full year now, I've had to make the move. I really don't think 12 month gaps on your CV, even if they are spattered with part-time work, look good. I also just wasn't an especially good freelancer. I had a f…

Trailer Tuesday: Easy A

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Although teen comedies have a reputation for being inconsequential fluff or a base mix of sex and gross-out, this doesn't mean high school-set films can't also demonstrate an insightful, intelligent bite that tickles teen and adult audiences alike. Think of gems like The Breakfast Club, Election and Mean Girls. Think then of those many teen comedies loosely based on classic pieces of literature, such as Clueless channeling Jane Austen's Emma, and 10 Things I Hate About You transplanting the romantic complications of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew to affluent middle America.

Now, Easy A - which effortlessly integrates Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter into its storyline - seems set to join this special sub-genre of clever high school comedies.


In Easy A, Emma Stone - in a star-making role by all accounts - plays Olive Penderghast, a clean-cut high school nobody who decides to help a bullied gay friend improve his reputation by pretending she lost her vir…

The Karate Kid (2010) film review

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Given the number of mediocre to rubbish remakes that have hit cinema screens the past few years, it made sense to be cynical upfront about The Karate Kid – starring Will Smith’s son Jaden and martial arts icon Jackie Chan. Not only did it feel like a remake of the beloved 1984 original (a rousing coming-of-age sports drama) was unnecessary, but with the 2010 film shifting its focus from Japanese karate to Chinese kung fu, even the movie’s title sounded stupid.


The thing is, just as The Karate Kid’s young hero underdog surprises his opponents, so the new Karate Kid movie stuns audiences. Despite its predictable plot, this remake is highly enjoyable and charming, making it probably the best live-action family film of the year.

Anyone familiar with the other four(!) Karate Kid films, or anyone who has ever watched a sports drama, will immediately identify the formula behind The Karate Kid 2010. 12 year old Dre Parker (Smith) arrives in a new city with his single mother, and as an outsider…

Movies releasing today: Hitting Wall Street with the Legend of the Guardians

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It's a public holiday in South Africa tomorrow, meaning I'll be taking a break from blogging. More importantly though, as a result of the long weekend, six new films are hitting South African cinemas today. And they offer a little something for everyone...

First up, Susanna Van Biljon is a local Afrikaans drama from soapie and TV series king Franz Marx. Songstress Karen Zoid stars as a dowdy 30-something woman stuck in a tiny Karoo town with her overbearing mother (MariƩ du Toit). She dreams of a brighter future elsewhere but at the same time can't deny her feelings for a local sheep farmer (David Rees). Many other popular South African actors and musical performers appear in the film including Shaleen Surtie-Richards, Kurt Darren and Nicholis Louw.

Anjaana Anjaani is a Hindi comedy romance starring Priyanka Chopra and Ranbir Kapoor as two strangers thrown together by fate, despite their very different lives on opposite coasts of the United States. Both unlucky in love, and …

The Expendables reviewed

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The Expendables was clearly intended to be the ultimate action movie, bringing together some of the greatest film genre icons, Mixed Martial Arts champions and WWE stars of the past three decades: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Steve Austin and Gary Daniels. They’re joined by Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts who add their slick machismo to proceedings, and even Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger pop up for good measure.


The thing is, despite being stuffed with living legends, The Expendables just doesn’t deliver on its promise of old school, over-the-top action. Although the film certainly has its exhilarating moments, just as often the audience is left feeling bored – which is frankly criminal given the talent involved. Most disappointing of all, the film isn’t nearly as much mindless, desensitised fun as it should have been.

Co-written and directed by Stallone, The Expendables feels a great deal like 2008’s Rambo IV. Your resp…

Trailer Tuesday: Priest

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Paul Bettany just can't escape religion in his movies. Over the past 4 years he's been a fundamentalist albino madman at the service of the Opus Dei sect; agnostic evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin; a gun-packing, trench coat-wearing Archangel Michael; and now he's a tattooed, vampire-slaying warrior of the cloth in Priest.


Evidently Hollywood is running out of Western graphic novels to adapt because Priest is very loosely based on the popular Korean comic of the same name. Priest is set in an post-Apocalyptic alternate reality where the world has been decimated after centuries of conflict between the Church and a combined force of Satanists and vampires. Bettany stars as Ivan Isaacs, a warrior priest retired after the last Vampire War. When his niece is kidnapped by a vampire pack aligned with the sinister and powerful Black Hat (Karl Urban), Isaacs disobeys his superiors and heads out into the Wastelands to rescue her. He is assisted by his niece's sheriff boyfrien…

2010 SA Blog Awards: An update

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A huge thank you to everyone who voted for this blog over the past 2 months that the 2010 South African Blog Awards have been running - first during the long nomination phase, and then during the final voting stage when Pfangirl Through the Looking Glass was competing as one of the Top 10 Entertainment Blogs in South Africa.

Alas, I'm not one of the Top 2 finalists in my category. Only the 2 blogs that scored the most votes landed their owners invites to the awards ceremony, to be held in Cape Town this weekend. And my spam mailbox - where all my SA Blog Awards email goes:P - is sadly empty.

But again, I'm not overly surprised. Pfangirl Through the Looking Glass is a private, single person-run blog amongst some big commercial and group-run heavies. As a result I was always going to be an underdog in a popularity contest where quantity of votes counts for way more than quality of content.

Once again, thank you for your continued readership and support over the past 5 years. Not on…

Agora film review

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Although beautiful to look at and definitely thought-provoking, historical drama Agora is definitely not a film for everyone.


Fans of Ancient World-set movies and TV shows, like Ben-Hur, Quo Vadis and Rome, should enjoy the film but they will already be accustomed to the genre’s leisurely pacing and long scenes of robed philosophising and political scheming, which may alienate the more casual viewer. This aside, Agora is inherently a very depressing film – its overarching message is that religious fundamentalism does nothing but destroy knowledge and beauty, and cripples humanity’s advancement towards enlightenment. You WILL finish watching Agora as a misanthrope, utterly disgusted with the human race.

Set in 4th Century Alexandria, when the Egyptian city was still a seat of knowledge in the Roman Empire, Agora focuses on female philosopher Hypatia (Rachel Weisz), who, despite her sex, is a well-respected teacher and astronomer at the Platonic School – a part of the famous Library of Al…

Karate Kidding around with the Expendables at South African cinemas today

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It's a pretty good week at the movies, with five new films opening in South Africa today - each catering for a very different movie mood.

1) Going the Distance is a raunchy but sweet romantic comedy, starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long. The film examines the perils of long-distance dating when career opportunities see this likeable duo forced to live on opposite coasts. Going the Distance was profiled on my blog this week, and the film is 51% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes (which, for the record, is pretty damn solid for a big studio-funded romcom). I'm definitely watching this one, even if I have a suspicion it's going to upset me.


2) Character-driven Greenberg may surprise fans of funnyman Ben Stiller. In this low key comedy drama, from the writer-director of Margot at the Wedding, Stiller turns in one of his best, most nuanced performances - far removed from his typical, goofy mainstream work. The star plays directionless Roger Greenberg, a 40-something single man at a cros…

Lazygamer column #2: Girl Gamers - Casual vs. Hardcore

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My first girl gamer and gaming lifestyle column was very well received when it appeared over at South Africa's top gaming blog, Lazygamer. Now my new column is up, and you can read it right here.

Geek and gamer girls

I'm a not entirely closeted Katy Perry fan. I'm also an out, proud, maybe not so loud, pop culture geek. Or, more accurately, a geek girl into comic books, blockbuster movies, role-playing, video games and all things fantasy and sci-fi (whether on the printed page or big and small screens).

So, naturally, I had to post this video clip, which combines geek girls and Perry. Geek and Gamer Girls is a well-made (if not fantastically sung) spoof of Katy Perry's California Gurls single. Heavy handed on the "Geek girls are sexy" message, the music video has some genuine pop culture cred thanks to appearances by Seth Green, Stan Lee and Battlestar Galactica actress Katee Sackhoff.

Geek and Gamer Girls initially appeared over at Break.com but since I despise that form of streaming video, I posted the YouTube equivalent above. You can also download the song in MP3 format and read the lyrics here.

For the record, this isn't today's lone blog post. Later on, my second g…

Taking the plunge with the Oribi Gorge Swing

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Something a little different for today - a return to travel blogging.


On Sunday I headed down the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast with a group of friends to Oribi Gorge for a mate's "extreme" birthday celebration. Southern Africa is about more than wildlife and breathtaking natural scenery. The region is also a paradise for adrenalin junkies. The Bloukrans Bungy Jump on South Africa's Cape Garden Route is the highest commercial bungy jump in the world, Zambia hosts the world's first gorge swing (popularised on the debut episode of reality TV show The Amazing Race), and Oribi Gorge offers what is apparently the world's highest gorge swing: The Wild 5 Wild Gorge Swing. I do have to add "apparently" though seeing as there is at least one other South African gorge swing that claims the same title.


Anyway, Oribi Gorge is an easy day trip if you're based centrally in KZN. The gorge is located about 1 and half to 2 hours' drive from Durban, heading south a…

Trailer Tuesday: Going the Distance

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Not many romantic comedies get profiled here as part of Trailer Tuesday. My attention is almost always more easily arrested by fantasy films, horror and animated movies. Going the Distance, however, is a rare romcom exception...

Apparently closer in spirit to the likes of He's Just Not That Into You,The 40-Year-Old Virgin and I Love You, Man, Going the Distance introduces sauciness and substance into the lighthearted romance mix. He's Just Not That Into You co-stars, and on/off-again real life couple, Drew Barrymore and Justin Long headline this tale of a couple trying to maintain a long-distance relationship after a breezy six-week romance blossoms into something more meaningful. With her pursuing a career in San Francisco and him on the verge of a big break in New York, the frequent flier miles build up, as do the phone bills, sexual frustrations and miscommunications. Then, of course, there's all the negativity from family and friends who don't believe the relationsh…

Resident Evil: Afterlife (3D) reviewed

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Resident Evil: Afterlife is the fourth film in the popular action-horror franchise, based of course on the beloved video games. Most important of all, Afterlife is the first Resident Evil film to be filmed in 3D, and it’s this small fact that helps to make this movie the best and most ridiculously enjoyable in what is otherwise a relatively mediocre series.


Speaking from personal experience, it’s possible to watch Resident Evil: Afterlife without having seen all the other films in the franchise. You also don’t need an intricate knowledge of the Resident Evil games to understand what is going on. There’s ass-kicking, gun-toting Alice (Milla Jovovich) and she travels around a post-Apocalyptic North America, looking for survivors who managed to escape a deadly virus that transformed most of the world’s population into zombies. Along the way Alice makes new friends, blows holes through dozens of undead and has to contend with the sinister Umbrella Corporation, headed by genetically enhance…

Time to Airbend some Resident Evil at SA cinemas this weekend

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Five new films open in South Africa today, and these include 2 movies with plenty of geek appeal. We'll get to those in a minute though once we've outlined the other flicks opening today.

First up is local teen comedy Bakgat! 2, an Afrikaans language tale that continues the adventures of dork-turned-rugby-star Wimpie Koekemoer (Ivan Botha) and his friends post-high school. This time Wimpie is wrestling with the decision to accept a rugby contract in England, which will take him away from his love, Katrien (Cherie van der Merwe).


For lovers of Bollywood cinema meanwhile, there's Dabangg, a highly anticipated Hindi action film about a corrupt but fearless cop (Salman Khan) who lives life on his own terms, but comes to learn the importance of family - regardless of how dysfunctional it is.

Selected Ster Kinekor cinemas meanwhile are screening animated film The Living Forest for little kiddies. This Spanish production centres on a shy little mole who has to rescue his friends fro…